Outsourcing

The agenda of change in the public sector requires many organisations to operate in a new way and will often require expertise that they do not have. New models of service delivery can be a key means of achieving this, bringing in the expertise of the private sector and social enterprises. Engagement with these organisations can be through direct outsourcing or through partnership.

Good outsourcing can deliver many benefits, including savings; investment in new IT and systems; a better idea of operational and unit costs; monitoring performance and outputs; and accountability through knowing costs and performance; alongside other benefits, such as generating local employment. Management can focus on ensuring services that are delivered as required rather than becoming embroiled in day-to-day operational issues.

Outsourcing is on the increase in the public sector, with many councils contracting out services in a bid to save money. With potential cost savings of between 10% and 20%, there are clear benefits to both users and taxpayers, and considering the possibility of making savings and service improvements through engagement with commercial partners can be worthwhile. The agenda of change in the public sector requires many organisations to operate in a new way and will often require expertise that they do not have. New models of service delivery can be a key means of achieving this, bringing in the expertise of the private sector and social enterprises. Engagement with these organisations can be through direct outsourcing or through partnership.

Good outsourcing can deliver many benefits, including savings; investment in new IT and systems; a better idea of operational and unit costs; monitoring performance and outputs; and accountability through knowing costs and performance; alongside other benefits, such as generating local employment. Management can focus on ensuring services that are delivered as required rather than becoming embroiled in day-to-day operational issues.

Outsourcing has been seen by many public sector organisations as an opportunity to run back office services more efficiently and put more money into frontline services. It has not always delivered what was expected, and the fault can often lie on both sides. However, the need for successful and widespread outsourcing has never been greater. The challenging economic times mean that new approaches to saving money will be required, and many will turn to outsourcing as a solution for both back and front office services. There are plenty of success stories from which any organisation planning an outsourcing can learn. Also, the outsourcing supply market has grown, and there are many new and innovative suppliers and solutions, for example through rapid IT developments, such as ‘cloud computing’, which could help spread more government ICT contracts to small and medium enterprises and save money for the public sector, according to Government Efficiency Advisor Martin Read. There is no longer any excuse for failure.

Public Service Events’ third annual Outsourcing conference will focus on practical ways to get the best from outsourcing, supported by case studies and live examples, as well as offering the opportunity to liaise directly with providers. This will include a look at the practicalities of commissioning services from social enterprises, some of which may have to be created for the purpose. What role should outsourcing play in addressing the public sector deficit? Is it really possible to make cost savings at the same time as improving service levels? At Outsourcing: delivering cost-effective public services, these questions and more will be addressed by an expert panel of speakers.

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